Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wheel and Sprocket Internship

Marc Prellwitz
SCOM/ Purchasing Intern

I am currently a purchasing and sales intern with the internet sales division of Wheel and Sprocket. Wheel and Sprocket is one of the top bicycle retailers in the nation and includes six stores as well as two different web based stores. I currently work out of the Oshkosh store, which also contains the mountain bike parts division of the online sales program.

In my position I am responsible for a wide variety of daily and monthly activities relating to the web store development. I work closely with industry representatives and distributors to find closeout components and parts that we sell online through various platforms. On a daily basis I must assess the items we are bringing in or will potentially be bringing in and weigh the risks associated with them. The goal is to be constantly improving the quality and price of the items we bring in in order to improve our sales.

In addition to focusing on the purchasing side of our internet sales, I also am responsible for managing the inventory when we receive it. I developed and implemented a simpler and easier to use ID system for our items once they are activated on the web stores so that it is easier for our shipping employees to find products. Prior to the system, an employee who was supposed to ship required a rather in-depth knowledge of different types and characteristics of the components. With the labeling system I developed, it is much easier and faster for people to simply use the system instead.

The final part of my internship focuses on evaluating sales figures and deciding what we should bring back and what items we should avoid. I have been surprised multiple times with this part of my job. Items that I was sure would be high grossing and fast sellers have sat for weeks while items I was sure wouldn’t succeed have flown off the shelves.

My internship has taught me a lot about inventory management. It has allowed me to put to use some of the knowledge I have gained during my time here at UWO and utilize techniques developed in much larger companies. It has allowed me to grow and stand on my own with a large amount of responsibility. Especially during the winter months storefront sales are down, so my department becomes a much bigger part of the sales during the time period. With my applications of large-scale corporation techniques to our smaller web based sales department we should be able to improve over last year’s sales and utilize our money better with smarter buys and faster sales.

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